How to go bright WITHOUT bleach


Before you rock bold colours, you’ve gotta brave bleach, right? WRONG.
The colour innovators at Not Another Salon have discovered a less damaging alternative for creating vivid brights. Welcome to #ANTIBLEACH. Salon owner and Most Wanted Colour Expert, Sophia Hilton, gives us all the deets…

“#Antibleach has been a life saver for those in desperate need of alternative options”
– Sophia Hilton

What is #antibleach?

“At Not Another Salon, we’re obsessed with keeping hair in great condition,” explains Sophia. “The reason it all started was because some of our customers were coming in with hair so damaged that we refused to bleach them!

“Broken hairlines and snapped off layers meant we were not willing to risk adding to the issue with a harsh process that strips all remaining pigment (and as a result, a lot of strength) from the hair. After seeing so many people brought to tears by their inability to continue having bright colours in their hair, we had to look at other options.”

How does it work?

“To minimise the use of damaging bleach on our clients, we started to experiment with a technique called highlift and began using light blonde tints instead of the typical hydrogen peroxide mix. Our goal was to lighten lengths just enough to apply certain vivid shades over the top,” Sophia adds. “This involved a lot of testing to discover exactly which bright shades will lay over the top of each level of lightness, before training all our staff in this technique.”

Who can have it done?

“#Antibleach is not always simple, and unfortunately it’s not suitable for all clients or all shades of hair. If you already have colour in your hair and want to change shades, #antibleach cannot strip out the existing colour in the same way that a standard bleaching process can. If you naturally have dark hair and want to go bright, then #antibleach is not an option,” says Sophia,”as it only has the power to lift hair a couple of shades lighter. This means dark hair will turn a reddy-orange shade that will not work as a canvas for bold colour.

“Finally, if you want pastel hair, #antibleach is not for you,” she adds. “Creamy, pale shades require hair to be stripped to an almost-white blank canvas that only bleach can achieve. The ideal #antibleach candidate is someone wanting a vibrant shade, who has either previously bleached hair or virgin (untreated and uncoloured) hair and is naturally a blonde to light-brown shade.”

Is it easy to make the switch?

“If you have previously bleached hair, you must realise that it’s going to be a long journey to growing out the damage, one appointment at a time,” Sophia explains. “At Not Another Salon, we realise that #antibleach is not a new idea, and hairdressers have done this in the past, but we noticed it isn’t widely used and after experimenting on a large scale, we can see why. There are definite drawbacks to this technique and if your stylist doesn’t do it often, there can be pitfalls.

“Because the hair is left in such good condition and – unlike with bleach – each hair strand’s cuticle (surface layer) remains shiny and closed, it can be pretty difficult to get the bright colour to stick! This is why we have now included an entire ‘#antibleach’ training section for hairdressers in our 2018 Bleaching Specialist courses at the Not Another Academy – it’s a little more complicated than it seems and it’s only by repeating it over two years that we feel we have cracked it!”

Sounds tricky… Is it really worth it?

“Yes – when #antibleach is done right, it’s amazing!” says Sophia. “Now, two years on, we have clients with all sorts of colours – pink, green, purple and yellow – but with the added bonus of having healthy hair for the first time in their life. Bleach still has a place in our hearts, but as our clients will tell you, our #antibleach option has been a life saver for those in desperate need of alternative thinking.

“I was actually the first client for #antibleach; my bright yellow hair has not had a speck of bleach touch it for two years, and as a result, my hair feels amazing. Obviously, I load it with Innoluxe each time I colour it too, so between both that product and this technique, I actually have a hair line again!”

See more stunning colourwork from Not Another Salon on Instagram and visit their website for details on how to book an appointment.